On October 22, 2002, Severino “Nonoy” Marcelo, a pioneer in the Philippine modern cartooning, died at the age of 62 in Manila.
Marcelo is best known for creating the character “Ikabod Bubwit” (small rodent) in the comic strip “Ikabod” which ran from the late 1970s to 2002. It was a satirical strip that re-cast the Philippines as a nation called “Dagalandia” and populated by mice.
He often used the strip to portray known political figures and other personalities as caricatures, re-imagining them as mice.
It also humorously depicted the socio-political woes of ordinary Filipinos, as represented by the tail-less mouse hero Ikabod — who became as iconic in his own way as that other popular cartoon rodent, Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse.
Marcelo’s other comic strips include: “Plain Folks,” which appeared in the Daily Mirror during the early 1960s, and “Tisoy” in 1963 for the Manila Times. “Tisoy,” which became a film in 1977, was about the lifestyle of young Filipinos.
In Time Magazine’s September 12, 1988 cover story entitled “Mighty Pens,” Nonoy Marcelo was the only Asian cartoonist featured for his “oblique technique to criticize the repressive Marcos regime.”
Despite occasional threats for his scathing commentaries, Marcelo still went on with his pursuit and passion.
After the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution, he went on to win the Catholic Mass Media Award for print journalism, a category usually given to reporters or columnists. For his contributions, Marcelo earned the Cultural Center of the Philippines Centennial Artist Award in 1988, the only cartoonist so honored.
Severino Marcelo was born on January 22, 1939 in Malabon, Metro Manila. He was an alumnus of the Institute of Arts and Sciences of the Far Eastern University.
Source: Philippine News Agency archives